Certificate Program Online Examinations
ASPPA's Certificate program examinations are open-book, online examinations and each consist of multiple choice and true/false questions. Upon completion of a certificate program examination, a candidate will receive an immediate score and feedback/summary report. The summary report will provide the candidate with the examination questions, his/her responses and which questions were answered correctly or incorrectly; it is strongly recommended that a candidate print the results for his/her records. ASPPA will NOT provide this feedback at a later date.
In general, there are two attempts of each examination each purchase. Candidates are only required to pass one attempt. If a candidate fails an attempt the candidate can complete the other attempt in the Learning Management System during the 180 day period. For example, if a candidate registers for the DB-A exam and fails, he/she can retry the DB-A examination again. If a candidate fails both attempts of the examination, the candidate will be required to purchase the examination again.
Each module includes an online examination consisting of 20 multiple choice questions. If you do not pass the online examination, you may purchase the module again. You are not prevented from completing other modules or taking the CPC proctored examination during this time. If you are pursuing the CPC credential, you can continue your professional development by focusing on these other requirements.
Prometric Testing Center Information & Procedures
ASPPA examinations (DC-1, DC-2, DC-3, DB, TGPC-2 and CPC) are administered through Prometric testing centers in more than 300 cities in North America. DC-1 and DC-2 examinations are also available internationally. To schedule an appointment, visit http://prometric.com/ara (international candidates can receive a regional telephone number at this site) or, for domestic appointments, call the Prometric Candidate Services Call Center (CSCC) at 1-888-215-4136.
NOTE: staff cannot assist in scheduling examinations. Saturday, Sunday, and evening hours are available at some locations; however, hours of operation vary from test center to test center.
Candidates may not take scrap paper or other materials into or from the examination location. Any attempt to remove such materials from the examination location will be grounds for disqualification of the candidate’s examination. The copying or reproduction of any examination questions or answers is expressly forbidden and may be grounds for the disqualification of the candidate’s examination. ASPPA further reserves the right to disqualify the examination of any applicant who fails to write out and sign the statement on the examination registration form whereby the applicant agrees to be bound by these regulations.
Candidates will not be permitted to bring their own headphones into Prometric testing centers. However, Prometric will have noise-cancelling headphones available onsite for anyone who requests them.
Candidates will NOT be allowed to bring in calculators to Prometric testing centers. Candidates will be able to use an onscreen calculator during the exam. If requested and available onsite, Prometric will furnish a handheld calculator that is silent, solar or battery-operated and nonprogrammable (without paper tape-printing capabilities or alphabetic keypads). Examples of the models available at most testing centers include:
Books, papers and electronic devices such as computers, pagers, palm pilots and cellular phones may also NOT be brought into the examination room. Any attempt to bring in such items during testing will be grounds for disqualification of the candidate’s examination.
In the unlikely event of the loss or destruction of a completed examination, the examination fee will be refunded. ASPPA can assume no other obligation and candidates must take all examinations with this understanding.
It is ASPPA’s intent to accommodate candidates who have physical, visual, hearing or other special needs. Specify any accommodations you require on the examination registration form and notify Customer Care of your needs.
Severe weather or an emergency could require the cancellation of scheduled examinations. If such an event occurs, Prometric will contact candidates by phone or email. Candidates can also check for testing site closures at www.prometric.com/sitestatus
. If an exam site is closed, a candidate’s examination will be rescheduled without a rescheduling fee. If a test center is open for testing and a candidate chooses not to appear for his/her appointment, his/her registration fee will be forfeited. The candidate must then register and pay another full examination fee for the next testing window.
Examinations are retained for two years. After two years, examinations will be destroyed.
Examination Refund & Transfer Policy
Fees for examinations are not refundable. The right to sit for an ASPPA examination belongs exclusively to the person named on the examination registration form. That person may transfer the right to someone else; however, the transfer must be in writing from the original registrant and must be received no later than the final registration date.
Examination Reschedule/Cancel Appointment Policy & Fees
A candidate can reschedule the date, time and location of a scheduled examination appointment – the candidate must contact Prometric by telephone or through their online system. Fees do apply and will be collected by Prometric at the time of rescheduling. The fees for 2018 include:
- Reschedule or cancel appointment 30 or more days before exam appointment – no fee is charged.
- Reschedule or cancel appointment 2-29 days before exam appointment – $35 fee.
- Reschedule or cancel appointment less than 2 days (48 hours) before exam appointment:
-- TGPC-2, DC-1, DC-2, DC-3 or DB - $92 fee
-- CPC - $101 fee
-- Internationally administered DC-1 and DC-2 exams - $121 fee
(visit www.prometric.com/ara to reschedule online or to receive a region-specific phone number)
Examination Cancellation Policy
ASPPA examinations cannot be cancelled and the registration fee is nonrefundable. Examination appointments can be cancelled (see Examination Reschedule/Cancel Appointment Policy & Fees). If a candidate is unable to take an examination, the examination must be transferred to another candidate. Online examinations can only be transferred; postponements are not allowed. ASPPA reserves the right to cancel a candidate’s examination. Prior notification will be sent via email and followed with a letter via mail.
Testing Center Appointment: Failure to Appear
If a candidate fails to appear for a scheduled ASPPA examination appointment or cancels his/her appointment less than 2 days (48 hours) before the scheduled appointment, the entire registration fee will be forfeited.
ASPPA examination questions are subject to copyrights owned by the association. Any reproductions, retransmissions, or republication of all or part of any examination question is expressly prohibited, unless the association has expressly granted its prior written consent to so reproduce, retransmit, or republish the material. All other rights are reserved.
ASPPA Examination & Publication Candidate Inquiry Policy
ASPPA's Retirement Plan Academy (RPA) appreciates and welcomes candidate comments to continually improve our educational offerings. If a candidate wishes to submit for review an examination/module question, practice examination question, or specific content within an ASPPA examination related publication, the candidate should be advised:
ASPPA Exam Expiration Policy (ASPPA Exam Sunset Provision)
- Any request MUST be submitted using the online Examination & Publication Candidate Inquiry Review Form. ASPPA will not accept phone calls or emails with the inquiry information (candidates will be directed to use this form);
- An examination question appeal/request MUST be submitted by the exam candidate. The E&E Committee will not review any request that is remitted from an employer, instructor/trainer, colleague, etc. on a candidate's behalf. ASPPA will only respond to the candidate, even if the inquiry identifies other parties (candidates are encouraged to review ASPPA's Education Standards of Conduct);
- A candidate must review any posted errata before submitting a request for review;
- Any publication content review must only be submitted for the current publication version or edition (as identified on the examination syllabus or ASPPA publication order form);
- Any question or text material submitted for review MUST be accompanied by supporting documentation (no review will begin until supporting documentation is received);
- Any question review MUST be submitted via this form within 30 days after the examination submission date or by December 31 of each calendar year (whichever date is earlier);
- Candidate will receive a response from ASPPA within 10 business days. If no response is received after 10 business days, the candidate should contact ASPPA's Customer Support department via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure we received your inquiry.
The ASPPA Board of Directors adopted an eight-year sunset provision that took effect January 1, 1998 and applies to all ASPPA-sponsored examinations. The provision (revised on June 28, 1998) now reads: credit for successful completion of an ASPPA-sponsored examination, needed to attain an ASPPA credential (i.e., FSPA, MSPA, CPC, QPA, QKA, TGPC, APM), will expire six months past the eighth anniversary of the examination date, unless the candidate is an ASPPA-credentialed member who has met ASPPA's continuing education (CE) requirements for each CE cycle (including reinstatements) since the examination date. If the candidate is not currently a credentialed member, the candidate may receive credit for sunset-invalidated exams, and receive his/her credential by completing one of the following:
- The candidate must provide documentation of having earned 40 ASPPA CE credits (including 2 hours of Ethics) within the 24 months immediately preceding the date of the application for credentialed membership; or
- The candidate must retake and pass the invalidated examinations within eight years of the oldest valid examination.
Once all examinations required for an ASPPA credential have been passed, application for the credential must be submitted. A candidate has eight and a half years, from the date of the first examination, to complete all examinations and submit his/her application for a credential.
Each examination is valid for eight and a half years from the date taken and passed. Effective six months following the eighth year, the exam taken will become invalid. For example, if a candidate passes RPF-1 and RPF-2 on June 1, 2007, and DC-1, DC-2 and DC-3 in 2008, and DB in 2009, application for the QPA credential must be made by December 1, 2016, or the RPF-1 and RPF-2 examinations will become invalid.
Immediately upon completion of an ARA examination at a Prometric testing center, a candidate will be notified whether or not he/she passed the exam and a score report will be issued. This report serves as documentation of pass or fail status. RPF Modules, TGPC-1, DB-A and ESOP-A exam candidates will also receive an immediate score upon completion and submission of the exam through the Learning Management System. A test results page can be printed to serve as a record; ASPPA will not reproduce this documentation at a later date. CPC examination results will be mailed to candidates approximately 8-10 weeks after the examination date.
Notification for examinations will include a score of 9, 8 or 7 (passing grade) or 6, 5 or “N” (failing grade). A score of “N” does not indicate that no points were credited; rather, the candidate’s performance was below the minimum acceptable standards. A score of 3 at Prometric is equivalent to a score of “N”. Raw scores, spreads between scores, pass marks, pass percentages and copies of questions are not released. The score report indicates “needs work” for any topic where the candidate scored less than 70% correct. Because each examination has different topic weightings, it is possible for a candidate to get “needs work” in a number of areas and still pass the examination. Conversely, the candidate could receive “needs work” in only a few areas and still fail the examination, if those topics comprised the majority of the examination. Raw scores, pass marks, pass percentages and copies of essay answers are not released. Candidates who wish to have their grades sent to anyone other than themselves must fill out a Grade Release Form
The number of hours of study needed to prepare for ASPPA examinations varies from person to person depending on the length and breadth of a person’s experience in the field. It is assumed and expected that all the required readings will be read and studied. Many successful candidates begin studying several months before an examination date in order to allow sufficient time to cover all the material to the proper extent.
As in other professional examination programs such as law examinations, enrolled actuaries examinations and CPA examinations, it is not unusual for candidates to have to take the test more than once before passing.
ASPPA Education Standards of Conduct
ASPPA’s Retirement Plan Academy (RPA) wants to ensure that all candidates are treated fairly during the examination process. It is important to note, in this regard, that any irregularity or suspected violation of examination rules will be investigated and may result in disciplinary action. The examination rules include the following points:
- Candidates may not give or receive assistance of any kind during the examination;
- Any cheating, any attempt to cheat, assisting others to cheat or participating in such activities or engaging in improper conduct will generally result in a candidate’s examination being disqualified; and
- Improper conduct includes arranging for another person to take an examination for the candidate; disclosing the contents of an examination to any other person; presenting false information on an examination application; failing to follow examination instructions; and looking at and/or copying the answers of any other candidate during the examination.
In addition to the rules noted above specific rules also apply for each examination format:
- Improper conduct includes gaining access to examination questions before an examination; having access to or consulting notes or books during the examination; copying questions and answers to take from an examination room; consulting other persons outside the examination room during the examination; disturbing other candidates during the examination; threatening or physically or verbally abusing another candidate, proctor or test administrator; and tampering with the operation of the testing computer or attempting to use it for any function other than taking the examination.
- Improper conduct includes copying questions and/or answers to an examination and providing to another candidate; and looking at and/or copying the answers or work of any other candidate.
- By virtue of the format of the examination, candidates can study with other candidates, work with colleagues for advice/guidance and/or use other study materials or online resources, but the work submitted must be the candidates'. Candidates cannot receive answers from employers, colleagues or other examination candidates, nor can candidates have their examination reviewed by another party for the identification of correct or incorrect answers.
RPA will pursue any evidence that a candidate has cheated or failed to follow the examination rules. Any irregularity or suspected violation will be thoroughly investigated. If a violation is confirmed, disciplinary action may involve disqualifying the candidate’s examination and/or disqualifying a candidate from taking an examination for several future administrations.
RPA may also report its action to ASPPA’s Professional Conduct Committee. Finally, if an examination is jointly sponsored (e.g., the Enrolled Actuary examinations), the other sponsoring organizations may also be notified.
We recognize the importance that these examinations play in your careers and believe that equitable administration of the examinations, combined with enforcement of ethical standards of conduct, will prove to be of benefit to the entire organization.